Friday, June 29, 2007

Eraserhead (1977)

Supposedly one of the best films ever made, a film from a director I love (David Lynch), in a genre I love (surrealism), and a director who I have seen do this genre to staggering effect before.

A slam dunk, right?


Lacking Bunuel's commentary, Godard's love of experimentation and cinema, or even the demented mystery of Lynch's own Mulholland Drive and Blue Velvet, Eraserhead is dead on arrival. Surrealism is nothing without either relaying an ethos or pushing a boundary, and this film did neither. Bunuel's surrealism was as off-the-wall as this, but he was railing against the Catholic church and bourgeoisie society. Brakhage's films were far more difficult than anything Lynch has ever DREAMED of (obviously ), and even though I don't enjoy them, I admire him for taking chances and trying something new and different. Godard is fascinated by the boundaries of cinema and how to extend them, and what characters can do, say and be thereof. This film wasn't even strong enough to pretend to have an ethos like the drunk teenager of surrealism, Cocteau's Blood of a Poet (which includes an opening scroll saying, "If you don't get it, it's on YOU!"). Eraserhead comes off as empty and offhanded, and thus takes on the appearance and lingering disappointment of a mediocre student film from a student you've seen so much better from. It has been stated that Lynch attempted to film a dream, but is that not what every amateur filmmaker is doing when he runs out of interesting or challenging ideas? Just string a bunch of random images together and hope people posit "deeper meanings"? If the film is meant to emulate a dream, it does, as fades from memory just as fast. The only difference between this and one of my dreams is, at least in my dreams, I get to see people I know.

A downhearted D.

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